01/29/06 — Children can design 100 Best poster

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Children can design 100 Best poster

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on January 29, 2006 2:00 AM

Children all over the county are participating in a poster contest to help celebrate Wayne County being named one of the nation's 100 best communities for young people.

The 100 Best Communities Committee has sent out the call for posters to the county's public and private schools, as well as to home-schooled children at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, said Sarah Wheeler of the Boys & Girls Club.

Mrs. Wheeler said winning the honor in the first place required a cooperative effort from many county agencies. She added that the winning poster will be chosen by a committee composed of representatives from each of the agencies.

The 100 Best Communities designation came from America's Promise, an alliance for youths that was started five years ago after the Presidents' Summit for America's Future in 1997. Former Presidents Bush, Carter, Clinton and Ford, with Nancy Reagan representing former President Ronald Reagan, challenged the nation to make children and youths a national priority. Retired Gen. Colin L. Powell became the founding chairman of the group, and served in that capacity until 2001.

In keeping with its mission to strengthen the character and competence of America's youths, the organization created a competition among communities all across the country, encouraging them to evaluate what they have been doing to help young people.

Wayne County's application included submissions from organizations like the public schools, 4-H, Volunteer Wayne County, Smart Start, the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Wayne County.

Out of 1,200 applicants, North Carolina areas chosen for the 100 Best Communities designation included Wayne County, Ft. Bragg and Charlotte. The winning communities, which ranged from small towns to urban neighborhoods across America, were honored for their commitment to provide healthy, safe and caring environments for young people.

Poster contest entries are due March 1.

Over the next few weeks, Mrs. Wheeler said the committee plans to showcase the organizations that helped earn the 100 Best title by offering a chance for them to set up booths and meet the public, sharing information about the services they offer for Wayne County youths. Performances from local students also are planned.

A Web site is also in the works, she added.